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Old 03-12-2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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To replace or not replace? (tile)


Hi folks,

Just curious what your expert opinions are on this one.

My tenant's dishwasher (which is very old) was leaking onto the kitchen floor slowly. When I removed the kickplate, the copper supply line had a problem. When I removed the copper line it broke, and water flowed out onto the kitchen floor until I was able to get the main shutoff valve turned off (the dishwasher shutoff valve under the sink didn't work - which I learned the hard way). Needless to say there was about a 1/4" of water all over the kitchen floor that I cleaned up. When I got the dishwasher out of there, it's just plywood flooring (I think) underneath it. That plywood was indeed wet. I think the leak has been going on for a while (maybe a few weeks?) because it was wetter than just the water I spilled on it just recently. I pulled up the first three tiles that are under the front feet of the dishwasher, and the wood was wet under there too. When we went down into the basement, we noticed the ceiling had water marks and it was dripping from one spot onto the basement floor. This is what makes me think it's been slowly leaking for a while (and slowly hurting the basement ceiling).

So, after that novel, my tenants are concerned that there's more wet floor under the rest of the tile in the kitchen that I haven't removed. They are concerned about mold, which I am too. Of course I don't want to have mold under the tile, but I'm not sure if that's the case. I cleaned up the wood that I could see with vinegar and soap and water and put a fan on it overnight. It went from black and dirty one day to dry and clean looking the next day. I was just going to replace the tiles that I removed, but again my tenants are concerned there's mold under the rest of the tile that I didn't remove yet. I've talked to a number of people and some say to keep removing tile until I don't see wet floor anymore. Others say it's fine and the wood wouldn't get moldy from one leak like that - and I don't need to remove any more tile.

I'm curious what everyone thinks. Attached is a before and after picture.

Thanks so much!
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To replace or not replace? (tile)-img_0843-copy.jpg  
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:39 PM   #2
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If they are loose, yes i would remove them, let the plywood dry really good for couple days, observe if there is any buckling of wood, then reinstall tile.

Make sure you install new shut off valve for dw. Just a suggestion.

Others will be along with more advice/ suggestions.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmon View Post
If they are loose, yes i would remove them, let the plywood dry really good for couple days, observe if there is any buckling of wood, then reinstall tile.

Make sure you install new shut off valve for dw. Just a suggestion.

Others will be along with more advice/ suggestions.
Thanks for the reply. Yep, already installed the new shutoff valve. The tiles are definitely not loose. Of the 6 or so tiles that I removed, only 1 survived without breaking. And that one tile has all the thinset and the metal lath still attached. I'm hoping to use a grinder with masonry disc to remove the junk on the bottom of the tile and re-use it so...fingers crossed. Still can't figure out if I need to keep removing tiles, though.
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Old 03-13-2015, 08:27 AM   #4
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The tenants are doing their due diligence expressing their concern about the mold. You should do your part. Meanwhile, document every process of the clean up and fix. I think you are being a good landlord. I don't think you need to retain a lawyer at this time. I think there are a few landlords on this site, ask them.

The glue and the ply will dry out from underneath. If they are rotted, the tiles will flex and crack, at which point, you know and must replace them. You can drill 1/4" hole into 2-3 spots to see the condition of the ply. For now, the structure seems to be sound enough. Mold is not a problem through the tile. Check the area underneath over time for mold. It may take month or more for the ply to dry out.
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Old 03-13-2015, 09:21 AM   #5
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Is it really a good practice to install tile directly on plywood? I've never thought so, and have never done it. A layer of 1/4" cement board is cheap insurance.
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Old 03-13-2015, 01:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
Is it really a good practice to install tile directly on plywood? I've never thought so, and have never done it. A layer of 1/4" cement board is cheap insurance.
If you look in the second picture (the "after" picture), the two tiles that I removed that would sit in front of the dishwasher's kickpanel indeed had metal lath and thinset underneath them. I bought a new sheet of metal lath and I intended to use that lath to re-install the tile. The two or three tiles that sat behind the kickpanel (that you can't see when the dishwasher was installed) didn't have the lath underneath, just the thinset.
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Old 03-13-2015, 05:59 PM   #7
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For mold to grow it needs 2 things food and moisture remove either one and it can't grow and will die. You have removed the source of the moisture. Leave the fan on a couple days to dry everything. If then no tiles come lose your good to go.
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